First of all in response to both Shel Holtz and Jay Moonah, I don’t make the statement that newspapers will die lightly. Also, my motivation for saying it has nothing to do with hating or even mildly disliking newspapers. Based on our having worked together at Canoe and Sun Media, Jay knows that I’m a strong proponent of helping newspapers to adapt. Why else would we have traipsed all over Canada including Grande Prairie, Alberta, where we saw a sign on Main street pointing to Alaska (now that’s north)?
Over the last five years, I’ve worked very closely with a large number of newspapers and I’ve come to a couple of realizations. They, as an industry, have waited too long to start adapting. And more critically, their corporate structures and business models won’t allow them to change without breaking. The way I see it, newspapers have a number of weaknesses. Broadly speaking they’re split into timeliness, efficiency and cost.
Each of the four basic functions of a newspaper - content, classified advertising, display advertising and distribution are impacted by these weaknesses. That’s not to say that newspapers don’t have strengths; but those strengths, in my mind don’t outweigh the weaknesses.
Over the next few days, I will outline my views on these weaknesses and how they are impacting the industry. In addition, I’ll take a look at it from readers’ perspective. Both Jay and Shel have done a very good job of describing how the ergonomics and convenience of newspapers will keep us reading them for years to come. In my last post in the series, I hope to be able to give some justifications as to why I think readers will want to move away from newspapers.
Stay tuned for the next five posts of “Why I Think Newspapers Will Die.”:
Part Two – Editorial Content
Part Three - Classified Advertising
Part Four – Display Advertising
Part Five – Distribution
Part Six – The Reader
By Jose Leal